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CNN TONIGHT

Stormy Daniels Passes Lie Detector Test About Affair with Donald Trump; Porn Star, Playmate And Reality Star, All In Legal Actions Over Trump; Advisers Warned Trump Not To Congratulate Vladimir Putin; Wave of Bombings Spread in Texas; Ben Carson Formally Blames Wife for the Infamous $31,000 Dining Set for His HUD Office; Cynthia Nixon Runs For Office; Melania Trump Vows To Fight Cyberbullying Despite Skepticism. Aired 11-12a ET

Aired March 20, 2018 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. It is almost 11:01 here on the East Coast. Live with new developments tonight. President Trump facing lawsuits tonight from three women. First there's this, the picture of the porn actress who says she had an affair with Trump, she's hooked up to a polygraph machine, it was back in 2011. The result, she passed with flying colors.

The report saying Stormy Daniels was quote, "Truthful about having unprotected intercourse with Donald Trump in July of 2006." Now, that is not admissible in court, but Stormy Daniels tweeting tonight, quote, "Technically, I didn't sleep with the POTUS, 12 years ago. There was no sleeping he-he."

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Sorry. Sorry. The entire panel is here. I'll introduce them in a moment. "And he was just a goofy reality TV star, but I digress. People do care that he lied about it, had me bullied, broke laws to cover it up, et cetera and P.S., I'm not going anywhere XOXOXO."

This President may really have met his match in Stormy Daniels. But there also the former Playboy model who says, she had a 10 month affair with Trump. Karen McDougal says, "She had an affair with Trump at about the same time as Stormy Daniels." She sold her story to the parent company of the National Enquirer which killed that story. Now McDougal wants out of the $150,000 agreement, so she can speak freely.

There is also the former Apprentice contestant, Summer Zervos. She says Trump groped her in 2006 and she says, he defamed her by calling her a liar. Now, judges refusing to dismiss her lawsuit against him. And even for a President who is no stranger to depositions and lawsuits, this is a lot.

So, I want to bring in now CNN political commentator, Steve Cortes, Joan Walsh and CNN legal analyst, Areva Martin, the author of "Make it Rain." And John Flannery, former federal prosecutor Southern District of New York. It is a lot, Steve. You have to admit that.

STEVE CORTES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Listen, yes, I mean, it's a lot, you know, I mentioned to you before we got on the air.

LEMON: Yes. You're the one who started laughing about the tweet.

(LAUGHTER)

CORTES: I looked --

LEMON: You put it all up and you're the Trump supporter.

CORTES: I looked forward to the day.

JOAN WALSH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We're witnesses too.

CORTES: I don't know if my mother is still up, a daily mask hour, but she is really tired of me talking about pornography on air.

WALSH: I'm sorry.

CORTES: I look forward to the day were I stop talking about it, but here's the thing too, let's be honest. I think this is important. The American people knew that Donald Trump had to put it nicely a colorful past. That was not hidden from them. These allegations were public. The allegations of misconduct by the way, not even just of extracurricular activities, but of actual malfeasance.

LEMON: He denied it.

CORTES: He decided -- he lied to them. And they decided they were either untrue or irrelevant or some combination of two.

LEMON: OK. Let me ask you. I know where you're going. No, no, no, I know where you're going. But what if they knew they were true, because now the President is out on David Dennison, aka Donald Trump is now saying, he doesn't want to talk, which is -- don't you think that is a tacit admission.

He doesn't want the other people to talk. They didn't know about --

WALSH: Right.

LEMON: -- the non-disclosure agreement and they didn't know about the $130,000 payoff, they may not have known about the $150,000 payoff from the other young lady. If they have known that, don't you think, maybe some of them might have made a different choice or may have thought differently of this candidate?

CORTES: I can't speak in hypotheticals, but it's possible, Don. Listen I'm a reasonable guy, you know as much I admire this president, what I appreciate what he's done.

LEMON: Because that covered every night and some of this -- we didn't know about.

CORTES: Hold on.

WALSH: Yes, absolutely not. CORTES: What they did knew was the "Access Hollywood" tape.

LEMON: Absolutely.

CORTES: Which was about damning --

LEMON: And you are right about his past.

CORTES: -- that was about as damning as you could produce, right. I mean if I were -- you know to try to concoct something to destroy a Presidential campaign it would be that Access Hollywood tape. The fact is that people consumed that tape. They -- they considered it and decided it wasn't relevant to the job he would do as President. And by the way, he is doing a magnificent job the economy is booming. ISIS is gone.

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No.

LEMON: Thanks Obama.

WALSH: No. Thanks Obama. I mean, come on. Look. People knew something. They didn't know everything we know. He also lost by 3 million votes and we're not here to talk about --

[23:05:04] CORTES: He didn't lose.

WALSH: He lost the popular vote.

CORTES: That is not how we decide.

WALSH: He lost the popular vote.

LEMON: He is the President.

WALSH: We're not here to talk about Cambridge Analytica, but we are learning every day, Robert Mueller is learning new things. We are learning new things. This is a mess. And I think if the American people knew the things that we know now. Summer Zervos, I mean, we have a great legal expert here, so I don't need to get into all of it. But that woman, that lawsuit going ahead, is I think the most important thing that happened today, because she now gets to say, you defamed me and the reason I can prove it is, I am telling the truth that you groped me, so --

LEMON: Areva, I want you to get in, but if I don't let John and he's going to jump off the screen, I'll do the same, because I hear you, what do you want to say John, I know you want to get in.

JOHN FLANNERY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Well, you know the thing about these complaints is the fact that he lies and then he goes to great efforts despite my colleague here who thinks everybody knew. Well, Trump apparently didn't believe everybody knew and were prepared to discount his marauding activities.

But the thing that is interesting about the Zervos matter -- Zervos matter is that she was involuntary, she was a victim. He said I didn't know any of these women. And she was on the' Apprentice. He fired her on the Apprentice, he assigned her on Apprentice and he says, he doesn't know any of these women.

So -- and that was one of her complaints. And it's why the complaint was sustained in the court. And what did our boy Donnie try to do, such a romancer as to say we should lay in bed and watch the telly- telly is a line that I guess works for him sometimes.

He went about this by just sort of trying to capture her when he had something she wanted and needed. I mean, he fits in the #metoo movement, but I think that the lies are the most critical aspect of what we are finding out about Trump. You know, he is trying to conceal from the voters what one of your guests doesn't think is relevant.

CORTES: It pays her money. Pays her $30,000 to the agent, go on.

LEMON: Areva, do you think he'll be deposed in the Summer Zervos suit?

MARTIN: I think with three lawsuits involving Donald Trump, two porn stars and this ex-apprentice star absolutely, there is going to be a deposition and subpoenas. I just want to address something Steve said about the American people knowing. We did not know about this hush agreement, this NDA.

And in this #metoo movement, in this time of times up, I think women, the 54 percent of white women that voted for Donald Trump perhaps would have had a different analysis of him as the President had they known in this moment that not only did he have these affairs, which apparently, he is going to great lengths to deny, but that he went to such great lengths to keep these women quiet.

LEMON: That is right after his son was born and not long after he got married.

MARTIN: Right after he had a baby and there are two women saying they're having the same affair with him.

(CROSSTALK)

WALSH: At the same time.

CORTES: Do you think those women believed that he was Mother Theresa, that he was Francis of Assisi.

MARTIN: It isn't about those women thinking that he was a saint. It is though about empowered women recognizing that there is something really wrong with a man that has an affair with two different women after his wife has a child --

WALSH: Home with a baby.

MARTIN: -- and then uses the legal process to prevent those women from talking about the affairs, then he calls those women liars, denies knowing them -- denies having any relationship with them. I think that is substantial and I think women would have made a different choice had the information got out.

And apparently Michael Cohen and Trump team thought that or there wouldn't be $130,000 settlement and there wouldn't be all of the legal cases to prevent this woman from saying, but Donald Trump says it didn't happen.

CORTES: I agree with Michael Cohen thought that I agree, but that doesn't mean that the President thought that.

FLANNERY: Oh come on.

CORTES: There was not a shred of evidence that the President himself knew about any of this.

FLANNERY: He is the only person benefiting?

MARTIN: Why did the president file a lawsuit? Why did he make himself a party to a lawsuit, Steve?

CORTES: He didn't --

MARTIN: He is a party to a lawsuit that he did not have to get involved, he made himself a party to a lawsuit. He didn't have to do that.

WALSH: Exactly, why did he make himself a party to the arbitration? His name is on that documents.

LEMON: Steve.

WALSH: If he wasn't involved in the original agreement then why did he want an arbitration decision? I mean, Steve, come on.

MARTIN: And that is a lawsuit.

LEMON: Do you really think -- do you really think -- be honest, do you really think Donald Trump didn't know that Michael Cohen was paying this money to him.

CORTES: I do not.

LEMON: You think he didn't know. You don't believe or you do believe.

(LAUGHTER)

FLANNERY: Sell that man a bridge.

CORTES: You can laugh at me.

FLANNERY: Sell that man a bridge.

CORTES: I don't so. I don't think he knew. Because the American people had already made it very clear that this was not relevant to the process of him becoming President. LEMON: What does it have to do with Michael Cohen? But again to

Joan's question, if it wasn't relevant, then why do a NDA and why pay her $130,000.

CORTES: Because apparently -- that is a question to ask Cohen, all right and I don't speak for him. And he is not the President of the United States. Donald Trump is. That is the man who.

[23:10:00] MARTIN: OK.

LEMON: Answer the question then why join the arbitration as Jones said?

CORTES: That I want to (inaudible).

LEMON: Why join the arbitration and say, I do know anything about those what happened.

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: And why not take issue with the lawyer that settles a case without your knowledge? You are a lawyer representing your client. You can't go off and negotiate a settlement for me as a client without my knowledge. That is an incredible breach of your ethics. Why is Trump -- Michael Cohen for settling a lawsuit for which he did not do, it underlay next, and that's a lawsuit?

(CROSSTALK)

CORTES: Here is the -- I think.

LEMON: The two went off and paid a lawsuit for me and you -- that means you're committing me to something you're committing me to the circumstances that are -- of that NDA -- of that contract. Maybe I don't want to be a party to that contract.

CORTES: Yes.

LEMON: If it came out that you paid that money and you signed this contract for me and I wasn't guilty I would say, I had nothing to do with this, this thing does not stand, let her talk it's not true.

CORTES: By the way, Don my recommendation to the President is exactly that. I think he should release her from the NDA, in my opinion.

FLANNERY: Oh.

CORTES: I think he should. I think that would be good for the country. I think it would be good for the administration. So that we can get back to talking about the things I want to talk about which is economic growth.

MARTIN: We all agree.

LEMON: Its own company email, right. It's won company email.

CORTES: I actually donated.

LEMON: You know when you work for a company they can read all your emails. I don't put anything in my email that I don't want my bosses to read.

CORTES: Right.

MARTIN: That's smart.

LEMON: So, you don't think that someone in that company knew that he was -- somebody in I.T. -- somebody knew he was -- everybody check your email they randomly read emails.

CORTES: OK. But here's a thing to it. This -- I'll defend the President to the hilt on this. I think this is unfair. He is our first entrepreneur President ever. And the fact that he had a company, right, which no President had before, in American history, a company and campaign which largely overlapped, means that of course -- there are emails that overlap. There are you know, that is --

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: Steve, are you saying that the incompetency defense -- is that the incompetency defense?

CORTES: No, that is not something, you know --

WALSH: It's not flaming.

FLANNERY: I think you shouldn't help the President. I really don't.

LEMON: Go ahead John, I'll give you the last words.

(LAUGHTER)

FLANNERY: I don't think this helps the President. Because that position basically says well you just said, which is that therefore Trump wasn't involved in the agreement and she is free to talk about what whatever she wants.

But my view is notwithstanding the argument that he didn't sign that agreement, there was a bilateral contract, there was a promise not to talk and there was a receipt of money. And I think in the end that is what's happening to that case.

The other cases are more concerning, because they involve a predator behavior. The consensual relationships are only important to me because of the lies. But the predator relationship with the lies, that is something else. And the -- the deal, whether or not it works out for, you know, in that lawsuit, the deal that is using money in the context of the campaign, I think that is a critical element to conceal from the voters. And that is -- did that is the real meat of that case.

LEMON: OK. I got to run, but I have to say this. I don't think people are surprised that the President had an affair. I think the people are just concerned about the covering up of the affair.

WALSH: Yes.

CORTES: Yes.

MARTIN: The constant covering up.

LEMON: That is what gets.

CORTES: I think they are much more concern about the prosperity.

LEMON: There are always other concerns, there are other concerns with Bill Clinton. There were other concerns during the whole other things. There are other concerns during Watergate. But sometimes things rise to the top and you just can't stop and use when a woman is involved that is not your wife.

WALSH: Two women that are not his wife.

LEMON: Stormy is from Baton Rouge my hometown. We don't back down easily. When we come back -- thank you all, by the way. When we come back, President Trump ignores advisers and congratulates Vladimir Putin for his re-election victory even though they warned him, in all caps, not to. I'm going to ask Mark McKinnon and Dan Pfeiffer about all of this.

[23:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: If there is one thing we have learned about President Trump it's that telling him not to do something is a surest way to get him to do it. So, it's not really surprising that he went against his advisers warning and congratulated Vladimir Putin, on Vladimir Putin's re-election. And I want to bring in now, Mark McKinnon, the executive producer of Showtime's "The Circus" and CNN political commentator, Dan Pfeiffer. Good evening gentlemen. Good to have you on. I love it when you're in a hat Mark.

Mark, "The Washington Post" is reporting that President Trump's national security advisers begged him not -- not to congratulate Putin on his re-election -- on his election victory that Trump's briefing materials included a section that says, do not congratulate in all capital letters, but Trump did it anyway. I mean, who knows if he even saw the briefing materials or not. "The New York Times" are saying maybe he didn't see them, but could they have been anymore clear do you think?

MARK MCKINNON, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, SHOWTIME'S THE CIRCUS: Apparently not. And I mean, the good news. Or.

(AUDIO BREAKING) 2

LEMON: Mark. Mark we're losing your satellite. We have a little satellite break up. OK. It looks like its fine now, can you start your answer over?

MCKINNON: Sure. I'll just say this is good news. The good news is there are still advisers for the President telling him to do the right thing like they did under these circumstances. The bad news is he is not only ignoring the critics now. He is ignoring his own National Security Advisers.

And it's just -- it's just so confounding when there is the specter of the cloud of Russia investigation that the President wouldn't do more to express some note of dissension, criticism of a country that has taken an offensive against our democracy.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, I want to ask you, Dan, because David Axelrod was on a little bit earlier and pointed out to Anderson and other folks as well, have said it afterwards. That President Obama congratulated Putin when he won the election back in 2012, he said I was to maintain a good relationship with the Russian leader. What's different now?

DAN PFEIFFER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, the context is obviously different. And obviously what happened in the election is specifically, what happened in the United Kingdom recently is a big deal. The level of Russian aggression has gone up. I would say, if this was in a vacuum, the fact that Trump didn't read his briefing and congratulated Putin. Would not be the biggest deal in the world. America has to deal with Russia on a wider issues from Iran, North Korea to Syria. But the problem is it fits in a pattern of taking at every opportunity a pro-Putin stance.

It's not clear whether it's some -- view out of far of American- Russian relations or just this very weird psychological thing, where -- if the President feels like he says anything bad about Russia, it somehow diminishes his electoral victory.

[23:20:05] In and off itself congratulating Putin does not -- it is not great. It's not ideal, but it's not the end of the world. It's the larger pattern that should be concerning everyone.

LEMON: So today, Dan, let me ask you quickly here, because I think it was the Russians who first talked about the phone call, who leaked it if you will or put it out there, but who do you think is -- is -- where is this coming from inside the White House?

PFEIFFER: I think -- I have no inside knowledge. But my guess is it is the professionals in the National Security Councils who are deeply concerned about President Trump's approach to Russia. And -- because he is -- what he is doing is flying in the face of the considered judgment of professionals with the National Security Councils, Department of Defense, the State Department, in across the intelligence agencies.

And I think that they felt a need to say something. This is a leak that is not a leak of vanity or a leak of anger or malice that we get so much of the Trump administration. This is a leak of people who are concerned about the direction the President is taking the country.

LEMON: Do you think that bolsters Mark the conspiracy theory of a deep state? MCKINNON: Well, I think that the idea of a deep state is one that

obviously Trump has been fomenting in an effort to delegitimize the actual investigation. But the problem with that at the end of the day, if Trump is truly innocent then he should allow the investigation to go forward and all he has been doing, especially over this weekend is indicting our own intelligence services.

And so, you know, for me as a Republican to look at this President and say, you know, Republicans use to be for the rule of law, for free trade, against deficits and against autocrats and dictators. And so we're -- where is the core of the Republican vision and this President? By the way let me ask Dan a question. Let's just say hypothetically. A year ago, if I said Dan, we arrived at this points today, under President X, not saying Trump and I say we had tax cuts that created a booming economy or contributed to, had huge jobs growth, real success against ISIS, progress and talks with North Korea. We'd be in pretty good shape for his mid-terms, won't you say, Dan.

(LAUGHTER)

PFEIFFER: Yes. I would -- you are putting aside the historical challenge of that person midterm. I would suggest that-- that President would probably would have an approval rating closer to 35 than 45.

LEMON: It would be higher, but Dan, you will have the folks say -- as we said last segment, who would go, thanks Obama for the economy that was -- that was handed to the current President.

But I want to -- Mark, I want to get in this. I want you to respond to this. And Dan I'll bring you in. But this is today, three days after Trump's twitter tirade that we talked so much about aimed at Mueller, we are finally hearing from Republican leaders on Capitol Hill and they're giving their support to the Special Counsel. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNEL (R), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I agree with the President's lawyers, that Bob Mueller should be allowed to finish his job. I think it was an excellent appointment. I think he will lead -- he will go wherever the facts lead him. And I think he will have great credibility with the American people when he reaches the conclusion of this investigation. So I have a lot of confidence in him.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: The Special Counsel should be free to follow through his investigation to its completion without interference, absolutely. I am confident that he will be able to do that. I have received assurance that is his firing is not under consideration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, Mark the House Speaker failed to disclose who assured him that Mueller is safe. Should he trust those assurances?

MCKINNON: So, I'm glad other people have voices including and especially Mitch McConnell. It's so critical at this point that we have a chorus of Republicans who are recommending that we stay the course and see this investigation through. There would be nothing more catastrophic in our history barring some, you know, relevant historical parallels like Watergate that, you know, getting rid of Mueller or somehow ending the investigation would be the worst of all possible scenarios. It would just lead the public -- certainly lead to impeachment. So maintain the course and Bob Mueller in this investigation and let it play out.

LEMON: So, Dan, do you think that they should be so assured that he is not going to try to fire Mueller? Because he could do it on a whim.

PFEIFFER: No, no. Those -- I mean, the comments -- you know -- it's glad -- I thought it was good that Mitch McConnell said validated the integrity of Bob Mueller investigation. That was important. I thought Paul Ryan's comment was utterly absurd, he receive assurances from Trump's staff who we heard all weekend, he is no longer listening to. I mean he doesn't read his notes prior to anyone. And Trump has a history -- he has no history of being honest or doing the right thing.

So, these are not assurances that you can take to the bank. It wasn't a particularly convincing statement. And it doesn't do anything to assuage the fears of Republicans and Democrats that if were Trump -- if Trump were to fire Mueller that Paul Ryan would do nothing about it.

[23:55:04] He would be disappointed maybe he would say he didn't read it, but that there would be no action from the House Republicans, because to date, they have shown unwillingness to stand to up to Trump on any issue he is in.

LEMON: Didn't he tell McGahn that he wanted to fire Mueller. And McGahn denied the story and he said, well you actually did tell me to fire him.

PFEIFFER: Yes, there is very little hanger around here, if you will.

LEMON: Quickly Mark, because I got to get to the break. And you have satellite fade, man.

MCKINNON: Yes. I think that is true. But there are only two scenarios, one, is he fires Mueller and he definitely gets impeached or doesn't fire Mueller and maybe he gets impeached. I think even Hannity would tell him, you know if you fire Mueller, you're getting impeach.

LEMON: We love you, but you have satellite break up, so we're going to cut it short. Thank you, thank you all, I appreciate it. When we come back an explosion tonight in Austin, Texas injures one person. Police say it was an incendiary device, but is not connected to other recent bombings in the city. We are going to bring you an update, right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Breaking News, one person was injured when an incendiary device was found tonight in Austin Texas. Authorities say it's not connected to the string of bombings across the city, but Austin is a city on edge tonight. I want to bring in CNN's Nick Watt, live at the scene for us in Austin. Nick, good evening to you. What can you tell us about this latest incident?

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, you summed it up, this is a city on edge. At about 7:00 tonight, this Goodwill Center, the report went out that there had been a bomb, a reported bomb. So the ATF was on the scene, the FBI was on the scene, local law enforcement.

It turns out that somebody had dropped off a box of donations and in one of those boxes, there were what police are now calling a military memento. They are saying it's an artillery simulator. When one of the employees was throwing it in the trash, it did ignite and he was burned. He was taken to the hospital. He is going to be actually fine.

But, you know, this city is really, really on edge. I was asked this -- report was coming in. I was in the neighborhood just ten minutes away where that tripwire bomb went off Sunday night. I was talking to a grandfather who was there with his granddaughter. He said, you know what, I'm not even taking her out for ice cream anymore because who knows where and when this guy is going to strike next.

LEMON: You mentioned that one. But what about the two bombs this morning? One of them didn't detonate. What's the common link here with the other ones in the scenario?

WATT: Well, the FBI has come out and said that those two bombs are definitely linked to the spate of bombings that we have seen here in Austin since March 2nd. One of them detonated shortly after midnight at a sorting facility, a FedEx facility there near San Antonio. Another one about 6:00 a.m. was found in a FedEx sorting facility up here near Austin airport. That one did not detonate.

And FedEx -- FedEx knows how to track a package. They have handed over a lot of information to investigators and we're told by a local police department here in South (ph) Austin that the FBI is looking into the possibility that both of those packages were dropped off at the same office. The probability that they were dropped off the same office here in Austin, that is a major lead right now.

LEMON: Nick Watt, reporting from Austin. Nick, thank you very much. I want to bring in now retired FBI special agent Jim Maxwell. Jim, good evening to you. If this is a single person, he or she seems to have a pretty sophisticated knowledge of bomb making.

In addition to the bomb that went off in the FedEx facility this morning, three bombs were hidden in packages delivered to homes. But one device was anchored to a "For Sale" sign on the side of the road and rigged with a tripwire. What does that level of knowledge tell you?

JIM MAXWELL, RETIRED FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, without looking at the device itself and knowing the type of explosive used and how it was initiated, we really can't make a call on whether or not these are sophisticated devices.

I will tell you that, you know, it's very easy to search the internet and find on either "The Anarchist Cookbook" or Inspire magazine, any one of these publications, and find step by step instructions on how to construct 2these devices.

Based on what I've seen at the crime scene especially where the tripwire was used, the earth is somewhat disturbed. It's not cratered. It looks to me like a low explosive. Low explosive would need to be put inside a container. Now, not to say that low explosive is extremely dangerous. A low explosive was used in the Boston marathon bombing as well as the Chelsea bombing.

So, you know, this type of explosive device in close proximity to a crowd would be very effective in a remote area. So I think the jury is still out on whether or not this guy has any real training. Like -- anybody with reasonable intelligence who can follow instructions could make a device like this, based on what I've seen so far.

LEMON: And so --

MAXWELL: And until they release -- until they release the details on how this device was constructed, I think we're guessing at that point.

LEMON: Let's talk a little bit about that, OK, because this is just in. A source is telling CNN -- a federal law enforcement source involved in the Austin investigation tells CNN that they think the bomber's motives is to cause mayhem and death and it doesn't appear to be targeting one group, OK?

And so some of the details of the investigation that they're sharing is that one of the devices -- widely held belief of major investigative team is that it's the same person making the device. There are a lot of consistencies. They are very similar in the way they were made. Same kind of stuff, either a mouse trap or a clothespin switch. They are meant to go off to kill people. Go on. What do you think?

MAXWELL: Those -- those devices are -- that's bomb making 101. The basic tripwire device can be easily constructed with fishing line, clothespin and some sort of non-conductive material plastic or a piece of wood and place it inside the clothespin.

[23:34:58] Clothespin has two electrical ends that would complete a circuit, and you put the piece of wood in between the clothespin. That stuff is easily available out there.

LEMON: Here is what it says. The level of bomb making skill doesn't necessarily -- I don't want to interrupt you, but I just want you to know this information and respond to it.

MAXWELL: Sure.

LEMON: The level of bomb making skill doesn't necessarily point to military experience, Jim. It says the source tells CNN that is the kind of stuff that they see in "The Anarchist Cookbook." It's victim- activated stuff.

MAXWELL: Exactly. A victim-actuated device. You see the two victims earlier in this investigation. They were hand lifting or opening the box. Very simple circuits can be conducted to cause a device to initiate just by opening or lifting a box. Even the -- the "Unabomber" used a plunger-type device that when the box was lifted off the ground, it set off the device.

So, right now, I think what we have is a wealth of potential information because we have one device that did not initiate. And depending on how the bomb techs had to RSP the device and render safe procedure, once they do that and they can render the safety of device, they can start doing forensics on (INAUDIBLE) on a device that's intact.

LEMON: Yes.

MAXWELL: We are looking at fingerprints. We are looking at DNA. And we are also looking at components. I participated in Iraq in the later part of my career with what they called Combined Explosive Exploitation Cell. We learned in war conditions how to collect this information and we were very successful in tracing bombs back to the origin based on the information collected at the scene. So this ability is here.

LEMON: Yes. And there was one found --

MAXWELL: I think this --

LEMON: One found intact this morning and they will get the information that you mentioned earlier from that, just like you said earlier. Thank you, Jim. I appreciate your time.

MAXWELL: OK, thank you.

LEMON: When we come back, Ben Carson throwing his own wife right under the bus for ordering that infamous $31,000 dining set. Really?

[23:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: We've got some hot topics tonight from the "Sex and the City" star running for office to Dr. Ben Carson apparently blaming his own wife for that infamous $31,000 dining set for his HUD office. He rolled right over the bus, threw her right under. Here to discuss, CNN political commentators Andre Bauer, Tara Setmayer, Peter Beinart, along with former New York City council speaker Christine Quinn. We have a lot to talk about. Christine, you got some explaining to do.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: So, sex -- hold on, I want to -- CHRISTINE QUINN, FORMER NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER: OK.

LEMON: Let me set it up. "Sex and the City" actress, Cynthia Nixon, announced yesterday that she will be running for governor of New York and will challenge current governor, Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary.

And here is what Ms. Quinn told The New York Post in an interview. She said, I'm surprised by this race. It is flight of fancy on her part. Cynthia Nixon was opposed to having a qualified lesbian become mayor of New York City. Now she wants to be an unqualified lesbian to be governor of New York. You have to be qualified and have experience. She isn't qualified to be governor.

Your comments have since come under fire. What were you getting at? That statement.

QUINN: Well, look, I would say a couple of things. One, I was trying to make a comparison between the two of us in a way that I thought might be quippier or even a little funny.

It obviously came out in a very different way, a way that has left some people feeling as if I was raising her sexual orientation as a reason she was not qualified to run or be governor. Nothing could be further from the truth. So for any with whom I left that impression, I sincerely apologize.

LEMON: You understand if someone on the right had said that about -- they would be seen as inflammatory.

QUINN: Oh, absolutely. That was not my intent at all. Look, I'm somebody who has dedicated most of my career to fighting for the advancement of the LGBT community. I know what it's like to be on the end of homophobia and sexism on the campaign trail and in political office. I have experienced it.

Let me tell you, if anybody attacks Cynthia Nixon for being a lesbian when she is running for governor, I will be the first one supporting her in that regard. It was ill-advised quote. I was trying to make a comparison. It came out very sideways. I stand by my statement that she is unqualified.

LEMON: So I get it. And listen, you have taken ownership of your comments. And by the way, you got two girls and you have the same hair color pretty much. It's like, you know, so much going on here. OK.

QUINN: Thank you.

LEMON: Mr. Bauer. Let's talk about the HUD secretary, Ben Carson, and his wife. Candy picked out a $31,000 furniture set for the department's dining room. Contradictory statements by the agency that Carson knew nothing about it. Well, today, Carson said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN CARSON, SECRETARY, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: If it was up to me, my office would probably look like a hospital waiting room. But at any rate, you know, I invited my wife to come in and help me downstairs. She showed us some catalogs. The prices were beyond what I wanted to pay. I made it clear that just didn't seem right to me. And you know, I left it with my wife.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, is he sleeping on the couch tonight?

(LAUGHTER)

QUINN: Thirty-one thousand dollars.

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, yes, yes, sleeping in the dog house.

ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Not the best situation at home. I think he did a good job answering the question. Look, he says he pass it off to his wife. It sounds believable to me. I think he has done a good job overall. I think he is a class act. And I hope that this will pass quickly because of the fact that he has a bigger fish to fry. But the optics aren't good, Don.

Any time you're a Republican, you need to -- that's one of the big things is, we say we are better with finances. We are more shrewd with the tax dollar. We have to stick to that. We're under a different set of rules quite frankly.

LEMON: OK.

[23:45:00] SETMAYER: So.

(LAUGHTER)

BAUER: You can't claim it and then not.

SETMAYER: I have a different opinion on this. I think that Ben Carson was never qualified speaking of being unqualified. Yes, he was a brilliant brain surgeon. That was his legacy. He has ruined that. He should have stuck to what he knew and not gone down this path. He had no business being HUD secretary.

Even his own buddy, Armstrong Williams, said that he had no experience and didn't think he was going to take it because he doesn't know how to run a large agency. And this is what happens. He said it.

And this is what happens. You can't sit here and tell me that someone who understands how to run a cabinet agency ever would have allowed this. This is more than -- first of all, his wife isn't on the payroll.

QUINN: Exactly.

SETMAYER: What is she doing picking anything out? Number one. Number two, there is a limit. A $5,000. There was a career official that raised the concern about the amount of money that was being spent on this.

You have to get congressional approval if you are ordering anything over $5,000 and this person was a whistle blower because Candy Carson, she basically threatened her, and so she had to become a whistle blower in order to expose this. This is completely wrong.

LEMON: But isn't that issue with his son as well. His son is involved in the politics.

PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What a shock. In the Trump administration, we would see these kinds of things. Bringing your son for some kind of lucrative side deal. Basically putting up, you know, expenses. Look what the Trump family themselves is doing in terms of the secret service costs of the country.

And then you got Steve Mnuchin. You know, person after person. It comes from the top. The ethos of this administration is basically get as much as you can get out of government. We have seen that in Donald Trump.

BAUER: That's not fair. He doesn't even take a paycheck.

BEINART: Donald Trump having people stay at Trump hotels for government business again and again and again --

(CROSSTALK)

BAUER: You are so giddy about the fact about how much business he was losing at Mar-a-Lago. There was a story on this network about how great it was that he was losing all those business now.

(CROSSTALK)

BEINART: Donald Trump had intertwined his business dealings with the public affairs of the government in a way that we have not seen.

LEMON: Well, and in way -- in ways --

BEINART: I'm not surprised that Ben Carson got the same --

LEMON: Ben Carson's wife is involved. Susan Pompeo, the wife of the CIA chief, has also taken unusually active role in the CIA. You got the EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, spent $200,000 of taxpayer money on first class air fare, charter, military flights, secure soundproof phone booth and on and on and on. He says he needs all of that. Anyway, that's a lot of money.

We got more. We can talk about that. We go to go. When we come back, we are going to talk about Melania Trump addressing her husband's own Twitter habits about bullying right after this.

[23:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: First lady's campaign against cyberbullying has a lot of people questioning whether she has ever talked to her husband about his Twitter habits. But the first lady addressed the issue head on today. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm well aware that people are skeptical of me discussing this topic. I have been criticized for my commitments to tackling this issue and I know that will continue. But it will not stop me from doing what I know is right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: OK, so listen, she says she wants to do what's right. I mean, sometimes I wonder if they're just punking all of us, right? Because, Peter, for her to pick that and then -- I'm not saying anything bad, just a figure of speech, the elephant in the room is her husband.

SETMAYER: Yes.

BEINART: Yes, this poor woman. I mean, look, the truth is Donald Trump humiliates and degrades everyone around him, right? Very much including his wife. In numerous ways.

SETMAYER: Repeatedly.

LEMON: Why would you say this poor woman? She chose that. She's an adult.

SETMAYER: I don't feel sorry for her at all.

BEINART: She made decisions. But I have not seen her act in the way her husband has done. Somehow she's along for the ride. I don't obviously know what's there. But the fact that --

LEMON: She sat in this very studio years ago with Joy Behar when Joy had her show on this network and co-signed the whole birther issue. So, listen, I know she wants to do the right thing, but she's not just along for the ride. Melania Trump is not just some naive woman who fell off --

(CROSSTALK)

SETMAYER: (INAUDIBLE) the "Access Hollywood" tape too which is --

QUINN: Oh, that's right. That's right.

BEINART: Right. OK, fair enough. She has been -- she has been --

SETMAYER: She's not a victim.

BEINART: (INAUDIBLE) in all this. What she's getting is she is an absolute national laughing stock.

BAUER: Well, I disagree. She is exactly what Hillary Clinton said was what Republican women are, she's not. She tried to -- she has said, I'm an independent thinker. Where Hillary Clinton said, I lost because women don't -- Republican women do whatever their husbands say. LEMON: I thought they were saying the same thing

(CROSSTALK)

BAUER: She is not. She is taking on a topic that some would say is contrary to her husband's actions and she is not --

SETMAYER: She stands up to her husband? Has she stood up to what her husband say and criticized him for being the cyber bully in chief? He is a walking, living, breathing example of everything she claims that she's going to be fighting against.

It's rich to sit here and think that we're supposed to take Melania Trump seriously when she chooses to be with a man who's an obnoxious bully, not only that to just everyone, but he is also a sexist, and he also is a womanizer. We're supposed to take her seriously on anything whatsoever? She's an independent thinker?

LEMON: Hold on. Hold on. I would think in this aspect that she and Hillary Clinton have a lot alike, they both chose to stay with men --

SETMAYER: Who are womanizers.

LEMON: -- who are womanizers. And so what's -- and whatever works in their marriage, I'm not judging them, that's their business, but there is no difference between her and Hillary Clinton in that aspect.

BAUER: She's taken on a topic that many are criticizing her and she hasn't backed down, she hasn't stopped, she has decided that is her crusade --

SETMAYER: She has no credibility on it.

BAUER: Well, I think she does.

[23:55:00] SETMAYER: What?

BAUER: For one, she's been a victim where her child actually was bullied and should be totally off limits by the way.

SETMAYER: Of course, of course. Yes, it should be.

QUINN: But, Andre, I think the question here is, if she really, really wants to do right, as she said, on the terrible issue of cyberbullying, then she's obligated to stand up and say, my husband is part of the problem.

And what we all need to do is turn to the people close to us, our spouses, our co-workers and say, you're being a bully, a cyberbully, you need to stop, and I am publicly asking my husband to do the same. That would be independent. That would be powerful. That would be an example for all of us to take up in our lives.

LEMON: People in glass houses.

QUINN: Exactly. She's not doing that.

LEMON: And I've got to go.

SETMAYER: Glass houses with gold trim.

QUINN: Exactly.

BAUER: (INAUDIBLE) from this.

LEMON: All right. Happy birthday, Andre Bauer.

BAUER: Thank you.

LEMON: What are you, 68?

BAUER: Forty-nine.

LEMON: Wow. And you razor broken your birthday.

(LAUGHTER)

BAUER: Three years on this network, they've been tough wounds.

LEMON: They have been bad for you. It's a nice watch. Good night, everybody.

[24:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)